Star Citizen crowdfunding reaches half a billion dollars after a decade

Daniel Sims

Posts: 586   +21
Staff
To the Moon: The famously ambitious space simulation game from developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) reached a significant milestone. No, it hasn't emerged from Alpha, but the crowdfunding budget has surpassed $500 million as it nears its Kickstarter campaign's 10th anniversary. There is still no release date in sight.

Most games from major publishers don't get development budgets anywhere close to half a billion dollars. Star Citizen — an indie game by some definitions of the term — recently blew past that number from crowdfunding. Furthermore, developer CIG raised $100 million of that money since last November, indicating investment in the game hasn't slowed down.

Initially conceived as a spiritual successor to Chris Roberts' classic Wing Commander series, Star Citizen and its single-player component Squadron 42 seek to let players explore entire planets and solar systems seamlessly. The title features a mixture of first-person shooter and space flight multiplayer gameplay at an impressive scale.

Star Citizen entered pre-production in 2010 and started its crowdfunding campaign in October 2012. Since then, it has raised money by selling access to the alpha. Alpha testers can also buy virtual ships, some costing over $100. The game's most expensive vessel costs $1,100. Last September, one backer complained to the UK's advertising authority over CIG's practice of selling ships that aren't actually in the game yet.

In February, CIG cut back on visibility for Star Citizen's roadmap, blaming high user expectations. However, the company still provides regular progress updates on its blog and YouTube. Looking at these updates and the roadmap provides an idea of the extreme level of detail and granularity CIG is trying to attain with Star Citizen.

One feature the August 2022 update mentioned has AI characters automatically check and refill medical fridges. One recently released feature in the roadmap called Salvage T0 lets players strip and repair their ships by hand. Another function allows players to move about in zero-g using only their hands.

Squadron 42 received a flashy trailer in 2018 featuring actors like Mark Hamill, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, Ben Mendelsohn, Henry Cavill, and others. Later that year, CIG gave the title a 2020 launch date. In January 2022, CIG said its release is still a year or two away while also mentioning multiple sequels. Leveraging the same technology as Star Citizen, a lengthy 2018 gameplay reel made Squadron 42 look like an ambitious mixture of Mass Effect and Crysis.

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hahahanoobs

Posts: 4,600   +2,563
I don't see why they couldn't have made enough of a game to sell at retail, and then just keep charging for add-ons/DLC.

That's what makes this whole thing so fishy to me. Also, how are the guys running this living? Are we talking mansions? Stocks? Condo? Vacations?
 

FaTaL

Posts: 114   +184
I've played the recent alpha. It still needs a sht ton of work. The playerbase are full of flight sim asshles who don't help, just call you an *****. Piloting a ship is incredibly realistic but very very challenging. You literally have to go thru a bunch of checks and actually use comms to let tower know you're depating/landing....

Once its polished tho, it will be one hell of an MMO. The graphics are amazing and runs well (for alpha build)
 

brucek

Posts: 1,208   +1,757
It seems like these days all major online titles are constantly in development, and constantly charging money (either subs or mtx or both), so other than labelling I'm not sure what's different about this one.

I sure hope most of the money has come from people who have been enjoying the game all this time. If they aren't, you'd have think they'd have noticed by now...
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,746   +4,683
TechSpot Elite
They don't even want to finish it. They know that they make more money like this than with a finished product that can never live up to the expectations of everybody.
 

toooooot

Posts: 1,630   +833
I watch SC streams sometimes. Seriously, at this funding, they could have added 100x more things to do in single player. They could buy imagination if they dont have it.
I feel like starfield will have much more things to do.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,554   +2,813
I'm torn on this. Thing is, they haven't really shown off much of the single player game which a lot of resources have gone into.

It's easy to say there isn't much in the Alpha of the multiplayer portion of the game if you don't go looking, the game really doesn't help you out at the moment, you just sorta need someone to guide you or follow guides online on how and where to do things.

I still hold hope for this game. The actual idea and lore of the game is very much something I would love to play and sink days into but development speed has been astronomically slow.

Looking forward to this years Citizencon, since it's labelled "Road to alpha 4.0" and they've introduced full server persistence in the latest 3.18 patch, I assume 4.0 will be full on server meshing and we can finally start filling the universe up with players, more planets and a universe big enough that worrying about fuel, food and dying or getting injured really will have consequences.
 

amghwk

Posts: 1,218   +1,144
Can't believe people are buying and putting more money in an unfinished product. These are the same people who would buy unfinished homes and unfinished cars, I guess.
 

azicat

Posts: 132   +150
Just wondering how CIG has structured their development team and 10-20 year roadmap, given the prolonged development and likely future delays. Is there contingency in case key devs and/or CR himself are somehow incapacitated? Or is it so vertical that it’s a house of cards? I’ve never come across any discussion about this worst case scenario regarding SC. What’s the legacy strategy? CR might be of croaking age by the time SC finally reaches beta!
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,746   +4,683
TechSpot Elite
Just wondering how CIG has structured their development team and 10-20 year roadmap, given the prolonged development and likely future delays. Is there contingency in case key devs and/or CR himself are somehow incapacitated? Or is it so vertical that it’s a house of cards? I’ve never come across any discussion about this worst case scenario regarding SC. What’s the legacy strategy? CR might be of croaking age by the time SC finally reaches beta!
Yes, they have contingency in case of such problems. They yell: "Please give us more money!"

And the community will yell back: "Please take our money!"
 

veLa

Posts: 1,168   +835
It's a scam and it always was. Roberts would never want to actually finish the game because that would mean less cash flow than keeping it in a perpetually broken alpha state.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,011   +3,955
TechSpot Elite
*Sigh* You'd think on a tech forum, people would not be so quick to hop on the "scam bandwagon" and actually think rationally for themselves by now.
Guess not.

I know that, at the very least, if a gov't entity had any confidence that they could prove it's a scam (by definition) it would've been done already, considering the money involved. But it's not a scam, just a slooow-to-materialize investment (with a very playable alpha)...

That said, I do hope they are nearing a launch. And, as funny as this sounds, I hope it's not rushed lol
 

ThrakazogZ

Posts: 66   +95
I think people are confused. Star Atlas is the one that's a scam.....only having a fully operational NFT store, and nothing else to show for.
 

hk2000

Posts: 179   +102
I know this is gonna be offensive to many, but we're talking video-gamers, who are dreamers, who are fantasy freaks, who are as gullible as the geeks on Big Bang Theory- they believe it when a crook promises the ultimate fantasy!!!
I bet you with the right marketing, you can sell them on a promise of a robot girl and go on for decades living an exorbitant life off of their funding!